After two convincing wins in our first two matches, confidence was high going into our league fixture at home to Bowden. Bowden won the toss and elected to field.
There was a change at the top of the order with Humzah Wasim the new partner for Ben Haspell. Bowden opened their attack with James Bottomley who bowled with pace and accuracy and a maiden. Opening up from the Oakley Villas end was Alec Makin whose leg spin proved difficult to handle. After missing a couple, Humzah was relieved to get a single and reach the relative safety of the other end. Ben was not so lucky when having missed the bal and let his crease he was unable to get his bat down before the bails were removed by the Bowden ‘keeper. The third over from Bottomley was another maiden – we were 1 for 1 off 3 overs. We didn’t panic and waited for the bad ball of which there were very few. Thomas Russell in at 3 scored a rare boundary, flicking the ball off his hip, the ball racing down to long leg for 4. Two overs later disaster struck when Humzah was bowled by Neary for 2. Then the first ball of the next over from new bowler Ted Vanderhock sat up welcomingly. Thomas middled it and it flew square of the wicket seemingly destined to be the first maximum of the innings. Unfortunately, Makin fielding at square leg had other ideas and somehow managed to catch the ball two-handed above his head as the umpire dived for cover. As the innings progressed, the bowlers changed but the accuracy of the bowling did not. Even when we did get bat to ball, the Bowden fielding was excellent. Good shots that would normally be a guaranteed 2 or even a 4 often resulted in no reward as the fielders somehow kept getting a hand to the ball. Patrick Chatterton continued his impressive form with the bat, top-scoring with 16 before being caught trying to up the pace. No-one else made it into double figures and we were all out in the last over for 57. A poor return for our efforts but it wasn’t because wickets were being thrown away with rash shots. Instead it was the pressure imposed by the accuracy of the bowling and the quality of the fielding of a very good Bowden side.
With such a low total to defend, it was never going to be easy. Ben Haspell and Joe Glare opened the bowling and both bowled well without reward, initially restricting the opportunities for Bowden to score runs. They were then replaced by Taylor Entwistle and Hassan Raza. Hassan was miserly conceding only 3 runs from his 2 overs. Taylor was a little expensive but claimed the only wicket (lbw) to fall. Unfortunately, whilst our bowling was a match for Bowden, our fielding was not. Where our shots found the fielder, Bowden found the gaps or found fielders back on their heels, not walking in making singles easy to come by. We also didn’t get the luck we needed to have any chance. When the opener top edged a great delivery from Hassan Raza, it flew high over slip’s head for 4. On another occasion, Hassan had the batsman hitting the ball high in the air but straight to mid off only for the catch to be spilled by the unfortunate Alishan Khan. Bowden reached their target in 11.1 overs and were worthy winners. We were well beaten by a very good team. Nevertheless, we played well as a team and continued to fight to the end, never letting our heads drop.
Man of the Match – Patrick Chatterton for being the one batsman to show some resistance.
Champagne Moment – My Heatons Carvery after the game.